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Prize Structure and Information in Tournaments: Experimental Evidence

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  • Richard B. Freeman
  • Alexander M. Gelber

Abstract

This paper examines behavior in a tournament in which we vary the tournament prize structure and the available information about participants' skill at the task of solving mazes. The number of solved mazes is lowest when payments are independent of performance; higher when a single, large prize is given; and highest when multiple, differentiated prizes are given. This result is strongest when we inform participants about the number of mazes they and others solved in a pre-tournament round. Some participants reported that they solved more mazes than they actually solved, and this misreporting also peaked with multiple differentiated prizes. (JEL D82)

Suggested Citation

  • Richard B. Freeman & Alexander M. Gelber, 2010. "Prize Structure and Information in Tournaments: Experimental Evidence," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 149-164, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:2:y:2010:i:1:p:149-64
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.2.1.149
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    Cited by:

    1. Posadzy, Kinga & Josephson, Camilla & Martinsson, Peter, 2017. "How Does Dishonesty Affect Winning and the Willingness to Compete? Evidence from a Stiff Competition Environment," LiU Working Papers in Economics 5, Linköping University, Division of Economics, Department of Management and Engineering.
    2. Werner Güth & René Levínský & Kerstin Pull & Ori Weisel, 2016. "Tournaments and piece rates revisited: a theoretical and experimental study of output-dependent prize tournaments," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 20(1), pages 69-88, March.
    3. Iriberri, Nagore & Rey-Biel, Pedro, 2017. "Stereotypes are only a threat when beliefs are reinforced: On the sensitivity of gender differences in performance under competition to information provision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 99-111.
    4. Philip Mellizo & Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2014. "Workplace democracy in the lab," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 313-328, July.
    5. Babington, Michael & Goerg, Sebastian J. & Kitchens, Carl, 2017. "Do Tournaments with Superstars Encourage or Discourage Competition?," IZA Discussion Papers 10755, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Christiane Bradler & Robert Dur & Susanne Neckermann & Arjan Non, 2016. "Employee Recognition and Performance: A Field Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(11), pages 3085-3099, November.
    7. Yusuke Kinari & Noriko Mizutani & Fumio Ohtake & Hiroko Okudaira, 2011. "Overconfidence Increases Productivity," ISER Discussion Paper 0814, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    8. Cason, Timothy N. & Masters, William A. & Sheremeta, Roman M., 2010. "Entry into winner-take-all and proportional-prize contests: An experimental study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 604-611, October.
    9. Migheli, Matteo, 2015. "Gender at work: Incentives and self-sorting," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 10-18.
    10. Mago, Shakun D. & Sheremeta, Roman M. & Yates, Andrew, 2013. "Best-of-three contest experiments: Strategic versus psychological momentum," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 287-296.
    11. Emmanuel Dechenaux & Dan Kovenock & Roman Sheremeta, 2015. "A survey of experimental research on contests, all-pay auctions and tournaments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(4), pages 609-669, December.
    12. Calsamiglia, Caterina & Franke, Jörg & Rey-Biel, Pedro, 2013. "The incentive effects of affirmative action in a real-effort tournament," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 15-31.
    13. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur & Arjan Non & Willem Verbeke, 2015. "The Effects of Prize Spread and Noise in Elimination Tournaments: A Natural Field Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(3), pages 521-569.
    14. Sheremeta, Roman M. & Wu, Steven Y., 2012. "Testing Canonical Tournament Theory: On the Impact of Risk, Social Preferences and Utility Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 6304, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Ashraf, Nava & Bandiera, Oriana & Lee, Scott S., 2014. "Awards unbundled: Evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 44-63.
    16. Shinya Kajitani & Keiichi Morimoto & Shiba Suzuki, 2018. "Information Feedback in Relative Grading: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Working Papers 40, Meisei University, School of Economics.
    17. Houser, Daniel & Vetter, Stefan & Winter, Joachim, 2012. "Fairness and cheating," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1645-1655.
    18. Richard Freeman, 2011. "New Roles for Unions and Collective Bargaining Post the Implosion of Wall Street Capitalism," Chapters,in: The Role of Collective Bargaining in the Global Economy, chapter 10 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    19. Shinya Kajitani & Keiichi Morimoto & Shiba Suzuki, 2017. "Relative Performance Information Feedback and Just-Pass Behavior: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Working Papers 36, Meisei University, School of Economics.
    20. repec:cep:stieop:46 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Hammond, Robert G. & Zheng, Xiaoyong, 2013. "Heterogeneity in tournaments with incomplete information: An experimental analysis," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 248-260.
    22. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2011. "Frequency of examinations and student achievement in a randomized experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1416-1429.
    23. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2013. "Team incentives: evidence from a firm level," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 53141, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    24. Yang, Fanzheng, 2013. "Using laboratory experiments to study otherwise unobservable labor market interactions," ISU General Staff Papers 201301010800004100, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    25. Ivo Schedlinsky & Friedrich Sommer & Arnt Wöhrmann, 2016. "Risk-taking in tournaments: an experimental analysis," Journal of Business Economics, Springer, vol. 86(8), pages 837-866, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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